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Improve Learning with Office 365 for Education

Taylor County School District Leverages Modern Learning Tools with Office 365

“The staff is very excited about the mailbox size and the ability to collaborate and access their documents from anywhere.”

- Ursula Brown, Chief Information Officer, Taylor County School District

Taylor County School District Leverages Modern Learning Tools with Office 365

Client

Taylor County School District is a 7-site school district based in Perry, Florida, which serves about 3,000 students and 500 staff. Taylor County School District’s vision statement is to provide their students with relevant education in order to prepare them to be successful citizens in the 21st century. They looked to Office 365 for Education to improve learning tools.

Business Challenge

Previously, Taylor County School District was using Microsoft Outlook and Office Suite to communicate. Running off of an on-premise server, they had been looking to migrate all of their data off of their network in order to relieve the server management burden on IT and utilize the speed and scalability of the cloud. Since on-premise storage was quite limited, they had issues with staff using alternative unsecured solutions for storage and collaboration, which left the district’s data vulnerable.

Taylor County School District was also undergoing a major transition period; they were heading towards a goal in which all of their students would be provided with laptops. However, they needed a way for each student to log on with an active directory account. Also, purchasing individual licenses on each machine for each student was not cost-effective and lacked the flexibility of students being able to access their work on their family computer or mobile device.

Solution

Taylor County School District was in need of a more flexible working platform for both students and staff that could support their end goal of providing every student with their own laptop. Taking advice from neighboring school districts, Taylor County School District’s IT team began to look into moving to the cloud with Office 365. Office 365 allowed them to unify their processes on one platform, expanding their network while lightening the burden their IT team, and eliminating the need for staff to turn to external storage or collaboration solutions. “Right away we started looking for consultants that could help us,” said Ursula Brown, Chief Information Officer at Taylor County School District. “We are a small district with small staff, and we quickly recognized that we didn’t have the resources to move.” Taylor County School District’s IT Team connected with SADA Systems by recommendation from Microsoft, and the project began.

As part of SADA Systems’ “365in90” initiative, which is to implement Office 365 within 90 days, SADA Systems was able to smoothly migrate Taylor County School District to Office 365 strategically and efficiently. The District’s IT Team chose to host their email and data in Microsoft’s cloud, Azure, which allowed them to eliminate the time and expense needed to manage local servers. Tim Murphy, Network Engineer at Taylor County School District, stated, “There was hardly a hiccup at all, the actual migration was really just a matter of two days.” Brown added, “Other districts bigger than us had been working on their implementation for years, and we just wanted to get it over with.” SADA Systems also provided Taylor County School District’s staff with training, which the District’s staff affirmed was clear, precise, and beneficial to the successful adoption of the added collaboration and communication features of Office 365.

Results and Benefits

Taylor County School District’s staff and students are thrilled about the collaborative and functional benefits of Office 365. The staff is grateful for additional storage capabilities, as their mailbox size has increased dramatically compared to their previous solution, and the added functionality provided by Office 365 provides an extra benefit. “The staff is very excited about the mailbox size,” said Brown, “and the ability to collaborate and access their documents from anywhere.” The value-add of Office 365 continues to grow as the staff and students realize a new way of working and collaborating with Office 365.

The burden on Taylor County School District’s IT team has been lightened by not having to manage their on-premise servers and email. Uptime is another added benefit of hosting their email in the cloud, as previously if the server went down it would take hours to get back up. Taylor County School District now has the ability to leverage cloud-based solutions in order to reach their goal of providing each student with not only their own laptop, but also the most relevant education fit for the 21st century scholar.

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